How to switch kitty litter types

Q: How do you switch cat litter?

A: As with any changes to any aspect of a cat’s life, you will want to do so slowly. Food changes, litter box location changes, new furniture additions, etc. needs to happen over the course of a few days to a few weeks. Depending on how sensitive to changes your feline is will determine the length of the transition period.

For kitty litter changes, start by adding a small amount to the already established box with old litter. Do not empty out the old litter and change abruptly, as this can upset your feline and cause litter box aversion or elimination outside of the box. Over the course of a week or so, you can start to add more of the new litter and add less of the old.

For example, add a cup of the new litter sprinkled over the top of the litter box. Allow your feline to adjust to the new type and watch for aversion or inappropriate elimination. If they seem to accept the new kind and are not bothered at all, keep adding more of the new litter every few days. Slowly take out some of the old and add more of the new every 3 days. If you notice your cat is upset at any point, just slow down the process or even take a few steps back.

Over the course of a week or two you should be able to slowly phase out the old litter and end up with all of the new.

As with any changes there is a chance your feline will not like the new litter or food, so listen to your furry friend and if they are happy with their food or litter or become stressed or upset with the change, you may need to switch back and take the transition even slower.

Remember, most cats prefer a litter that is scent-free, dust-free, and soft of the paws. Litters that are scented, or pellet-like aren’t always what is best for your feline. Clay litters kick up a lot of dust and can create upper respiratory complications later in life.

Last note, please remember to scoop often and keep your cat’s bathroom as clean as possible. :)

My personal preference for litter is World's Best Cat Litter. For litter boxes I love the Modkat litter boxes at modkat.com :)

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The ole poop and run

Question: 

Hi Sophia!

Winnie goes CRAZY after she poops. Is this a cat thing? Is our cat just extra strange? Arlo doesn't seem to do this but he is always on the lazier side.

:)

Thanks for being an awesome cat lady!

Sincerely,

Dith Pamp Portland, Or. 

Hi Dith!

Thanks so much for asking this question!

Now, this may not resonate with every cat owner, but I can definitely tell you this IS a thing! Both my cats, Marmalade and Ziggy, tear around the house after they poop and it is hilarious to watch. I also know immediately when one of the cats has pooped in my house based on the racing about [and can therefore clean it right away;) hehe].

While I can not give any scientific explanation for this, my best guess is that using the litter box might give some fresh energy to cats and to burn off this burst of energy they act on one of their favorite exercises: racing frantically about the home!

Another theory is that cats will race around in hopes of removing any kitty litter or waste remnants on themselves. And a funny thought is maybe they are just running from the smell of their own poop:)

On a serious note, if your kitty is exhibiting this behavior out of the blue (not a normal behavior for them) it's best to follow up with your veterinarian. Running away from the litter box after eliminating can also be a sign of pain, infection or discomfort. Ruling out any medical reason is always recommended.

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

PDX Cat Stalker

**Please email pdxcatstalker@gmail.com with subject line "Cat Advice Column" if you have a question about your feline and would like to be featured in my weekly cat column.**

 

Scratching the furniture

Question: How do I get my cats to stop clawing the couch?

Sincerely, Kristen Houser Portland, Or.

Great question Kristen! This is a very common one from many cat parents and I'm happy to say it's an easy fix:)

Firstly, it's important to understand that scratching is a normal behavior of felines and they should never be punished for doing what only comes naturally to them.  Scratching is used by cats to mark their territory, stretch their bodies and keep their nails healthy by removing the outermost dead layer. Scratching should be a part of a feline's daily life as it can be an emotional release for them as well. 

If your beloved felines are scratching your favorite furniture, help them realize it's not an enjoyable place to scratch and provide a better alternative. If you prevent or deny a cat from acting on a natural and normal behavior, then you are unfortunately setting yourself up for behavioral problems.  

Start by purchasing scratching posts for the home. It's worth trying out a few different types to determine what is preferred by your cat.  Having multiple options available throughout your house will decrease the chances of your kitty going to those unwanted places. 

Try vertical and horizontal options and make sure all the posts are sturdy. Get a cat tree for your kitty to climb and scratch on. Also, get cardboard or scratching posts with rope material that lay flat on the ground. Once you have multiple options with multiple materials scattered throughout your home, sprinkle catnip or treats on them. Keep them in areas out in the open or near the places they have been scratching. Try not to hide them in a corner or place near a litter box or their food and water dishes. 

Most kitties won't be able to resist their new presents!

For the cats that are still going for the couch or chair (even after you have multiple scratching posts in your home), a bit of deterring will need to take place. Place double-sided sticky tape or aluminum foil on the furniture that is being scratched, which is absolutely unappealing to most feline friends. In no time, they will be avoiding those spots and using the more appealing scratching posts laid out for them. Another humane deterrent are the Scatt motion censored air canisters which can be found easily online or in pet supplies stores. When your cats go near an object or on a surface you do not want them, the canister will spray air and very effectively startle them. This is another fast and successful trick in training your kitty. 

The key is to make what you want your cat to do, desirable, and what you don't want them to, undesirable. 

Keeping their nails trimmed or applying soft paws are another option if the above is still not working. Remember, declawing your cat should NEVER be an option as it is immensely cruel,  inhumane and will lead to life-long behavioral issues. Providing resources for cats to act on their natural behaviors alongside some simple training techniques are all it takes.

Thank you for reading!

Sincerely,

PDX Cat Stalker

**Please email pdxcatstalker@gmail.com with subject line "Cat Advice Column" if you have a question about your feline and would like to be featured in my weekly cat column.**